Oh blog. I’ve completely abandoned you.
Though there are only a dozen or so people who missed it [and thanks to those of you who told me that, it really does make me feel like a rockstar in a little corner of my mind], I’m back in action with some explosive new news.
I’m leaving Australia. Permanently.
Big news, and I’ve fielded lots of the same questions, so I thought I’d list them out with corresponding responses below.
There’s so much that has gone into this decision that it’s hard to know where to start, so maybe I’ll just lay bare a few facts and you can connect the dots:
- Early in 2014, things at work weren’t exactly amazing. I would go home every day miserable and feeling like I was treading water with a 30-lb. weight strapped to my waist.
- In March, my grandmother passed away.
- In April, the English Muffin and I met my parents in New Zealand for a holiday. While we were there, we got the news that my other grandmother passed away quite unexpectedly.
- Around this same time, an old friend from high school shared with us that she had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and had 6 months to live.
This confluence of facts set me about seriously examining my life. My grandmothers had both lived long, full, productive lives. Losing them was difficult, and highlighted to me how far I was from my family, my strongest support system.
But my high school friend’s sudden diagnosis was a gut-punch. She is so intelligent, accomplished both academically and personally [Masters degree, volunteered at orphanages in Asia, traveled everywhere you could imagine], recently married, and incredibly beautiful. My mind kept telling me: People like her don’t face this sort of thing. Because she could have been me. We battled the throes of Junior year together: high-school parties, getting our driver’s licenses, generally just being 16 and thinking we had it all figured out. Neither of us were supposed to die before we turned 30.
But she is.
And so I started to think about what I was doing with my life. I wasn’t exactly happy, and it was pretty clear to me that life is too damn short not to be. And while I understand that 90% of happiness comes from within, that 10% that comes from without is a pretty big 10%. I had tried and tried to change my attitude, and decided it was time to change my circumstances.
So I started saving up money. A month ago, I quit my job. I went home for a holiday and let my family and friends know I was coming back. And I started to plan 6 months of travel.
Where Are You Going?
Long-term: San Francisco
Short-term: I’ll be traveling around Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Bali, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and points to be determined in Europe.
Who Are You Going With?
My sister Beth is at a bit of a cross-roads herself, having recently graduated from college and [like so many of her generation] working in retail without a clear idea of what would be a better option. So she’s joining for the first 5 or 6 of those countries listed above, and then I’m on my own [dropping in on friends here and there, of course].
I finish work on the 19th of December. Beth arrives on the 3rd of January. We’re spending a bit of time in Sydney then starting off to various points around Australia for a few weeks, before we head over to Fiji and New Zealand. I likely won’t be back in the US until June or July, unless disaster strikes or my bank accounts get utterly emptied.
What About the English Muffin?
He’s coming too! Not on the traveling bit, but on the San Francisco bit. He will be staying behind in Sydney while I go on my epic journey, looking after my dog and organizing himself financially and visa-wise for a move to the USA. He’s truly a gem.
What Will You Do When You’re Back?
I have absolutely no idea. There are vague and fuzzy plans about moving out of the advertising agency world into marketing, ad product development, or maybe even VC consulting. But I’m hoping that getting away from it all will help clarify for me exactly what I want to be doing. I really don’t know. I’ll be sure to update you when I do.
And that’s it! That’s my news, and my plans for the next 8+ months, as unclear as they are. Many a sleepless night was spent trying to figure out what to do, trying to be comfortable with flinging myself unknown to the mercy of the world without a safety net. It’s utterly against my nature, but I’ve finally warmed to it. In fact, once I’m used to it I might never go back.